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E. Libyan forces launch airstrikes near SW oil fields

Forces based in East Libya said they had launched airstrikes near oilfields in the southwest of the country early on Thursday, after fighting in the area shut down one of two major fields, according to Reuters.

The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) said on Wednesday it had driven rival factions from the 70,000-barrel-per-day El Feel oilfield after carrying out airstrikes, leading to production being halted.

The fighting reignited a conflict for control of large oilfields in southwestern Libya between competing military alliances that are also battling on the outskirts of the capital, Tripoli.

On Thursday, Mi-35 attack helicopters had targeted Chadian opposition forces preparing to attack Sharara oilfield, Libya’s biggest field, an LNA military official said. Both sides in Libya’s conflict frequently accuse the other of depending on African mercenaries.